Open Source and the Customization Connundrum

Matt Asay’s always great blog referenced an Information World article that talks about just how much code is “out there.” The article gets into all those custom lines of code attached to legacy and packaged applications, etc.

Here’s what the CEO of Krugle feels is the dollar value associated with all of this code lying about:

When you factor in salaries and other expenses, Krugler says it costs $50 to $100 per line of code developed. That would put the investment in proprietary, internally developed software, measured in today’s dollars, in the trillions. Companies are looking to capitalize on that massive investment. Krugler expects a significant percentage of corporate code to become open source as CIOs try to benefit from the dynamics of community development and software sharing.

Matt notes that this is a good impetus for companies to use open source software. Agreed. But also, in the CRM world, this means that open platforms are also needed. Cheaper license fees are one thing, but with the high cost of professional services and development, more open and easier to customize platforms are needed. We are addressing this with Module Builder in 5.0, but this is just the beginning. By driving a lot of the customization and extension costs out of an expansive app system like CRM, IT budgets can be spent on modernization, virtualization, etc. — areas that improve performance and structure instead of getting nickel and dimed by PS people for the smallest application change.